Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Review: NYPD Red by James Patterson and Marshall Karp

Title: NYPD Red
Authors: James Patterson and Marshall Karp
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Hardcover: 400 pages
Summary: (taken from Goodreads)
It's the start of Hollywood on Hudson, and New York City is swept up in the glamour. Every night, the red carpet rolls out for movie stars arriving at premieres in limos; the most exclusive restaurants close for private parties for wealthy producers and preeminent directors; and thousands of fans gather with the paparazzi, hoping to catch a glimpse of the most famous and beautiful faces in the world. With this many celebrities in town, special task force NYPD Red is on high alert-and they can't afford to make a single mistake. Then a world-renowned producer fatally collapses at his power breakfast, and top NYPD Red Detective Zach Jordan is the first one on the scene. Zach works with his beautiful new partner, Detective Kylie MacDonald-who also happens to be his ex-girlfriend-to discover who the murderer might be. But this is only the beginning: the most brutal, public, and horrifyingly spectacular crimes they've ever encountered are about to send all of New York into chaos, putting NYPD Red on the ropes. Zach and Kylie know there's no way of telling what a killer this deranged will do next. With the whole world watching, they have to find a way to stop a psychopath who has scripted his finale down to the last explosive detail.
Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5

As with all of James Patterson’s books, I eagerly awaited the arrival. I thought new fresh idea with a creative story line. The concept of New York City having an elite police group tasked with protecting A-list people who come to town, seemed very appealing to me. The problem was not with the concept, but more so the writing and lack of depth in some of the characters that were portrayed. The book had a definite division in its writing prose. It was as though the two authors wrote this book without meshing their style together. 

Right from the start, I was not able to connect with the main characters of the story. Police officer, Zach Jordon felt more like a love sick puppy, offering advice to a seasoned psychologist (woman he meets for coffee in the morning) than lead cop for NYPD Red. Zach’s newly assigned partner, ex-girlfriend and object of Zach’s love thoughts, Kylie MacDonald’s character, was so poorly written that I didn’t know if she was a seasoned cop who thought too highly of herself, or a woman out to prove she can make it in, what she thinks is, a man’s world.

The difference between the writing styles was evident in the fact that the Chameleon’s story line was fast paced, well thought of, and showed brilliance as the character unveiled layers of pain, anguish and the need for redemption. On the other hand, both Zach and Kylie’s characters showed clips of how they became attracted to each other, why Kylie went rogue but neither conveyed how the two most important characters, in terms of catching the Chameleon, managed to rise to the level of NYPD Red. Although Captain Cates, in NYPD Red, brought strength, control and a sense of humor to NYPD Red, her character was not enough to make me believe that NYPD Red was anything other than a group of one dimensional people thrown together for the purpose of writing a quick book.

I was also excited with the early revelation of the Chameleon’s name, believing that it would uncover more facets and perhaps introduce breaking points in the Chameleon’s persona, but true to the poor character writing in this book it did not. The revelation only led to a mental hospital where the police were allowed to roam freely, no real thought to patient privacy, and narrowed down, rather quickly, the plot and the players. 

The ending of the book was far worse than the beginning. The climax seemed to happen at such a quick pace that I jumped for joy when the book was over due to the unrealistic nature of the whole yacht scene.

In my opinion, this was a book that was rushed, not up to par for James Patterson and completely disappointing.